Fathom of Tethys*, or the embrace of water
rosso ammonitico, human hair, photographic travelogue, slow performance
* Tethys Ocean, the predecessor to the Mediterranean Sea, was named after the greek goddess of water.
Fathom, is a measuring unit for the depth of water, originating from the span of a man's outstretched arms; the word itself derives from the Old English word fæðm, which meant embracing arms.
In the north of Italy, near lake Garda, there is a characteristic type of a limestone called rosso ammonitico. It is part of the architectural landscape of the region, where it has been used as a building material.
As its name suggests, it has a distinguishing red color and it is usually filled with the remains of ammonites: fossils that are preserved in the stone, all the way from the Tethys Ocean of the Jurassic period, millions of years ago.
Ammonites were creatures of that sea, which, after millions of years of changes in the landscape of the area of the Mediterranean Sea, ended up embedded in the limestone, on the foot of the Alps.
The core of the project Camminando nel Mare, Nuottando sul Monte is the journey to that specific area of northern Italy in order to collect, a piece of rosso ammonitico.
The piece was bought from a local quarry, in the shape of a cube (a shape that cannot be found in nature) and transported to an abandoned mine of the very same facies. It was photographed there, a perfect cube around randomly shaped pieces of the same family of sediments.
The color palette of the custom made equipment was specifiacally meant to fit in the surroundings of the mines, while it standed out from every other place during the journey.
The rosso ammonitico cube was then transported back from Venice to Athens, by boat, using handmade wearable equipment and was embedded with my own hair, upon completion of the trip.
Hair is a strong ancient symbol with various meanings in different cultures and times, but for me it symbolizes ‘human time’ and its passage, and in this case my personal time.
In this dna merging of fossil/stone and human hair, a symbol of the earth’s infinite time is put in parallel with a single persons time to consider our transient nature on this planet, and question our sense of belonging.
Analog photography is an important part of the project, functioning as a medium between collecting and re-collecting.
Without the ability to see what has been captured, all the visual souvenirs of the journey are revealed later, reanimating the fading experience of the trip. The travelogue Fathom of Tethys or the embrace of water is consisted of analog photographs taken during the journey, from the departure until the arrival back to Athens, and is presented in the form of a photobook.